DCSIMG

Preparing to leave Afghanistan and handing over responsibility

Royal Engineers Lt Rosie Brooks, Capt Andy Grieg, Sgt Don Campbell and Capt Sean Parr, with their armed guardian angel, far right, drink traditional Afghan tea with Afghan National Army engineers and, below, reporter Victoria Prest talking to Afghan army engineer explosive ordinance device platoon commander Saidemran Rohane, left, and Wahedullah Salite.

Royal Engineers Lt Rosie Brooks, Capt Andy Grieg, Sgt Don Campbell and Capt Sean Parr, with their armed guardian angel, far right, drink traditional Afghan tea with Afghan National Army engineers and, below, reporter Victoria Prest talking to Afghan army engineer explosive ordinance device platoon commander Saidemran Rohane, left, and Wahedullah Salite.

As the 2014 deadline for Britain’s combat troups to withdraw from Afghanistan draws near, more and more of their work is being handed over to the country’s own forces.

And for British forces in Helmand, this means they often work side-by-side with Afghan forces.

The Brigade Advisory Group (BAG) are deployed in Afghanistan to mentor and support Afghan forces, and some soldiers from the 21 Engineers and the 28 Engineers attached to them work permanently in the BAG’s home at Camp Tombstone - a small base attached to the British Camp Bastion an Afghan Camp Shorabak in the Helmand desert.

They work with the Afghan National Army’s own engineer units - coordinating the jobs the Afghan units do with British army engineers from 21 Regiment, and those they do on their own.

Their engineer platoons build army bases and check points, and clear the country’s main road Highway One of roadside bombs and IEDs.

Wahedullah Salite is part of the route clearance team, travelling Highway One each morning.

He said he was proud to do the dangerous job making the road safe for people to travel every day, but looked forward to the day he could move back to his home and family.

“My family worry about me doing this, they want me closer to home,” he added.

Watched over by a “Guardian Angel”

So far on this tour of duty in Afghanistan - Herrick 17 - seven British soldiers have died, six in apparAnt “insider attacks” by members of the Afghan forces.

Although hundreds of interactions between British Afghan forces go on each day without incident, an Army spokesman said, they now deploy a “guardian angel” when British troops meet their Afghan counterparts.

When the two sides work together the guardian angel - an armed British solider - is always present to watch the meeting and to protect and reassure British troops.

 

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